Memphis church provides thousands of children with new shoes - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis church provides thousands of children with new shoes

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(WMC-TV) - One Memphis area church is sending thousands of children back to school "on the right foot" thanks to an annual event that keeps growing every year.

Eight-year-old Demile Anderson is proud of his new pair of sneakers.

"I just like them. They're fresh and they're clean," stated Anderson.

His mother brought him and four siblings to St. Andrew AME Church's annual shoe giveaway.

This is the school's 21st annual shoe giveaway. Many of those in need of new shoes got in line well before seven o'clock Saturday morning.

Pastor Marilynn Robinson said the idea to donate shoes began with a teacher in the congregation.

"What she just found was that kids were not coming the first week of school. When she began to try and figure out why, it was because they were very much ashamed of the footwear," stated Robinson.

The congregation still covers most of the cost of these shoes...some of which are bought in bulk. They say the need has grown well beyond the South Memphis neighborhood around the church.

Volunteers now encounter people from all over the area.

"You may not be able to change the world; but, if you can change the life of one child by giving them a new pair of shoes so they can get into a learning environment and have a future...it makes a huge difference," stated Robinson.

The positive impact on the children can be seen in Demile Anderson's big smile.

"Will it be nice to go to school with new shoes? Yes sir," replied Anderson.

In addition to new shoes, school supplies, and even free haircuts were provided during today's event.

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